FilmMakers.com / The Radmin Company 2003 Screenwriting Competition

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Ryan Harris

Finalist

Ryan Harris
of
Studio City, CA
Screenplay
THE PLANTATION
Suspense / Thriller
Biography: Ryan Harris writes both feature and sitcom spec scripts. Currently he lives in Studio City and works as a writerıs assistant on the UPN sitcom The Mullets.

Interview

I knew I wanted to be a screenwriter ....

I knew I wanted to write when I first began to read. To me it was just as fun making up my own reality as it was to read about it.

I know I've succeeded....

When I get offered a second writing job. That way Iıll know I didnıt screw it up too badly the first time! That - and knowing I'm still having a great time doing what I love to do.

My inspiration to write THE PLANTATION.....

As an anthropology major in college, I loved to study religion, superstitions and folklore. Haitian Voodoo had all of those and was the most exciting to study to me. Plus I love Zombie movies and smart thrillers.

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FilmMakers Magazine: What inspired you to write?

Ryan Harris: I wanted to write when I first began to read. To me it was just as fun making up my own reality as it was to read about it.

FilmMakers Magazine: What did you do to prepare yourself to write your first script?

Ryan Harris: I had taken a couple screenwriting classes in college and I continue to be in a screenwriting salon run by Joe Bratcher and Judy Farrell where I've really learned to concentrate on the craft. I also read a lot of scripts - itıs great to see how others visualize how their words translate to the screen.

FilmMakers Magazine: Is this your first script and how long did it take you to complete?

Ryan Harris: This was the second feature length screenplay I wrote. It took about a year to complete in its current form. I still work on it anytime I get an interesting note.

FilmMakers Magazine: Do you have a set routine, place and time management for writing?

Ryan Harris: I write and make deadlines for myself everyday. Evenings, after work are when I can concentrate most. I have an small office set up in my garage that separates me from the distractions in the house such as the TV, stereo, cookies, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, phone calls, shiny things...
you "know, stuff."

FilmMakers Magazine: Do you believe screenplay contests are important for aspiring screenwriters and why?

Ryan Harris: I think they give you a better understanding of how your scripts stand up when they're in the mix with a large pool of talent. Also - doing well in
a good contest can be a fantastic opportunity to get your foot in the door
with agents.

FilmMakers Magazine: What influenced you to enter the FilmMakers.com / The Radmin Company Screenwriting Competition?

Ryan Harris: I read Filmmakers Magazine and have heard a lot about the Radmin Company which has broken several successful writers.

FilmMakers Magazine: What script would you urge aspiring writers to read and why?

Ryan Harris: There are a ton of really "good scripts out there and easy to find." One thatıs a fun read is Grosse Point Blank - a great example of a tight, constantly fun screenplay. If you love a movie - do whatever you can to get your hands on the script - see how it translates - feel out the pacing - learn from its technique. It's always incredible to see the origin of a great movie right there on the paper in front of you.

FilmMakers Magazine: Beside screenwriting what are you passionate about and why?

Ryan Harris:
Along with feature writing, comedy TV writing is a huge passion of mine. The process of going into work every day and working with other writers has great appeal to me - not to mention the rush putting a show up in front of live audience! So, yeah... that ­ and Iım pretty good with a yo-yo. 

FilmMakers Magazine: Who is your favorite Screenwriter and Why?
Name the director you would love to work with and why?
Name the actor you would love to work with and why?

Ryan Harris:
I really canıt think of a favorite screenwriter, director or actor. I
admire a huge range of styles, techniques and passionate visions that make
it onto the screen. Anyone who can challenge me as a viewer ­ who through
their craft can piss me off, make me cry or or send me into a milk spurting
out of my nose laughing fit is doing a great job in my book.

FilmMakers Magazine: Any tips and things learned along the way to pass on to others?

Ryan Harris:
Everyone works differently and finds the best environment and method for themselves. If you discover one that works, creating the discipline and keeping the passion and drive to work as much as you can is key ­ but the most important thing is not to lose the joy of creating something new and all your own in the process. So, yeah, that stuff and watch a lot of movies! That's a huge part of the fun!

FilmMakers Magazine: What's next for you?

Ryan Harris: Iım writing another thriller and polishing a comedic caper movie ­ Iım also continuously writing comedy TV specs.

FilmMakers Magazine: Where will you be five years from now?

Ryan Harris:
I hope to be enjoying life - working regularly in TV while having the opportunity to continue writing features.

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